January 2007 Archives

A sociology experiment named SL?

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An interesting observation, or an attempt to read more into it than there is : My big, fat, lily-white Second Life (The Register).

I'll add you, Louis, though I no longer work at Dark Angels right now. It was a short career :)

Update : link fixed. Thanks Joco!

Check and update, people!

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It's been a while since I posted really boring stuff - or so I hope - so here we go again. Remember that in the end, I'm only doing this to help you all out :)

- Skype - new release (3.0.0.209) on January 24th 2007 (no change log to be found!)
- FileZilla - new release (2.2.30a) on January 2nd 2007(security update)
- Quicktime - v7.1.3.191 security update. Mac users can update, windows is troublesome.

I'll sleep when I'm dead...

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Instead of going to bed immediately after I got home yesterday morning, I logged into SL and found myself right in the middle of a bachelor party at Dark Angels Night Club. Needless to say, it was way past 8h30 when I finally hit the bed. Got up around three, went to pee and promptly fell back asleep till six. I managed to go back to bed before falling asleep again though :)

Just finished my last night shift for the month, and am working security at the Vampire party - now where did I leave those fangs? I'll have to head off to bed soonish...

Whoa!

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That's about the only way I can describe my first party/working night in Second Life. As you could read earlier on this blog, I got hired to be part of the security team for the Dark Angel Night Club. Tonight we were having a Leather and Lace event that pulled in a nice crowd, and Buddy (the DJ) really worked the masses.

ServMe Nakamura at work Everyone was having loads of fun till a couple of people started getting verbally abusive and calling each other names. After they got a warning - several warnings in fact - the event host got so tired of it that she warned them as well to take it outside or discuss things through IM (which wouldn't bother the rest of the party people).

Things calmed down for about 30 seconds and then the first insult was thrown back in the room. By that time, Wulfe (Head of Security) had already taken position, I was in place as well and Saga was positioned a couple of meters on the other side. The insult appeared in the crowded party room, and I kicked two offenders out. Things got quiet after that, and the party went along, everyone happily to enjoying a trouble free event once again.

II think this is the first time I've had so much fun in SL, and even though I'd rather not have kicked someone out, it was necessary to ensure the good vibe for everyone else. SL really isn't all that different from RL :)

Off to bed now, need some sleep and tonight... I work a night shift in meatspace.

I scored a job in SL!

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I feel much better today, after a good night of sleep. Woke up somewhere around eleven, and went shopping for food and stuff I needed. Entertained Tai and dove into SL. Sold two more lots of land and seem to have scored my first job in my Second Life : I'll be part of the Dark Angel Night Club Security staff and work for tips. Well, I don't see how security should be allowed to accept tips, but then again this is only a virtual world. The club owner is American and as we all know, the USA of all about tips and low wages.

Off to grab something to eat and clean out Tai's litter box while I watch some TV. The club opens in a few hours, so I should be busy tonight.

Yawn

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A long day ahead tomorrow, and going by the weather today, it's gonna be a cold one as well. I'm so not looking forward to it, but then again, it's "only" 10 hours of agony, and then off for one full day. Friday, graveyard shifts start...

Update : I just got home and the day wasn't so bad after all. It was rather calm and I had a colleague to give training on the job so that kept me busy as well. My feet hurt and my back aches, but those are things that should be gone after a good rest.

*Waves*

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I'm still alive, just don't really have updates to post about.

Live from SL (Life in SL)

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I just ran into two Dutch girls in Sarah Nerd's Freebie Paradise building, and they were utterly unaware that they were chatting on a public channel, if their conversation is anything to go by.

annelies123 J. : "you can do so many naughty things here"
Angela B. : "I knew you'd wanna be naughty here"
annelies123 J. : "Was I that much an open book to you?"
Angela B. : "You go girl, no one knows and it all stays in SL"
Angela B. : "What does P. think about it?"
annelies123 J. : "He doesn't like the game and thinks SL sucks. And I'm behind the PC even more now"
Angela B. : "If only he knew ;)"
annelies123 J. : "What about M? Does he know what happens in here?"
Angela B. : "He hasn't got a clue"
etc.

Add at least one "hihihi", or "whahahahaha" at the end of every sentence and you get an idea about the level at which these two were having a conversation. At first I'd guess they were late teens, early twens, but then one said she had to pop out to do some laundry. How many teenagers do laundry on a friday morning? I guess they were just horny MILF's looking for some fun online - which is perfectly fine by me. Remember : in your fantasy (or in an online game), "you can be what you wanna be!"

ServMe Nakamura signing out.

The Video Top 2000

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Someone just mailed me this : The Top 2000 in Video and commented that someone had a little too much time. I agree, but really like the effort. Here are three clips/tracks/artists I really liked for one reason or another.

Yes, I am fully aware that I've got a very diverse taste in music. You try picking just three out of 2000 entries. Feel free to leave your three favored videos or songs in the comment section...

I just couldn't leave this one out :

SL - the first real steps

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Instead of troubleshooting network problems, I've been rezzing in Second Life for a couple of hours. In fact, I sort of created my first object today : a small rotating box that has the FK logo (you know it from the stickers) on it on all sides and when people click it, it offers to bring them here. A small step for mankind, but a necessary step for the promotion of this blog ;)

I say "sort of created" because I grabbed an object from someone else, and then modified it to suit my needs. Hey, it's the first step I take into SLS, so bear with me, will you?

Anyway, I doubt many of the 2 million SL residents will notice my boxes - I kept them small and as little intrusive as possible using a very slow rotation angle - but if any of you SL'ers end up here and read this : Hi!

Back?

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I don't know yet whether I should consider this good or bad news, but the fact is that I'm back online for now. Instead of replacing the splitters first, I decided to take the firewall out of the loop and that solved the problem. With a direct connect from the main box to the ADSL modem, there are zero connection problems, which probably means the firewall is at fault.

It could - I assume - also mean some cat 5 cable is faulty, disrupting the connection between the modem and the firewall, but it seems rather unlikely. I'll have to do some more testing to know for sure. It's a good day to stay inside anyway, with windspeeds up to 110 km/h predicted I don't feel like going out unless really necessary.

Notice : you may see FK disappear for short periods of time - if everything goes well that is - due to some maintenance being performed. If we return the latest version should be running under FastCGI resulting in an increased performance. I'm not sure whether that performance will be noticeable by end users/readers or mostly on the back end/server. Time will tell :)

Update : The new version seems to be running, but I can't get FastCGI working. Whenever I change the extensions to .fcgi and update my config file to point to them, they return a "file not found" error. If you have any clue on how to solve this - yes, the files do exist and the permissions are correct if you ask me - please let me know!

Oh, crap!

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The internet connection didn't magically fix itself while I was out. I think I've got my work cut out for me tomorrow. My first guess? The modem somehow got fucked up. I've checked the firewall and everything seems fine with it. Both the firewall as well as the modem were restarted (power down, not just a reset) and I still can't get anything beyond an IP assigned by the DHCP server in the firewall.

First work tomorrow is replace the DSL splitters, though I'm quite certain those are not the problem - they are just the easiest to replace. After that, I'm taking the firewall out of the loop and connecting the modem directly to the main box to see the result of that. If the modem is fucked, I'll know it right away.

Anyway, if you don't hear back from me right away (IM, mail, comments, whatever) it's probably due to a very limited connection. I don't feel like sending unsecured data over a network that ain't mine, and is open to everyone who happens to feel like connecting.

More internet woes

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While happily browsing away today, suddenly I ran into DNS trouble. I tried disabling the network connection, but that somehow failed. After a reboot, I still get no look up from the DNS. The firewall is up and running - logging in is no problem, I verified all settings even though they haven't changed a bit - and the DSL modem was rebooted. It synchronizes fine, so the physical connection is up as well. I'm stumped right now as what the problem is, but it is clearly not isolated to the first computer. None of the other machines can resolve names to IP's either.

So, off I hop onto a wireless connection of a neighbor, and I check the Skynet network status page : all is fine according to them. Not if you ask me, but I don't have the time to troubleshoot more now as I have to head off to work.

It better be fixed when I get back home.

Oh, Nadia : I received a reply from EDPnet, and they do support newsgroups and even the binaries. If you want, I'll forward the links to the documentation online to you once I'm fully connected again.

Who would have guessed?

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An excerpt from the full article (link below) : ...DRM has become much more than that. It's now a behavioral modification scheme that permits this, prohibits that, monitors you, and auto-expires when. Oh, and sometimes you can to watch a video or listen to some music.

The basic point is that access control technologies are becoming more and more refined. To create new, desirable product markets (e.g., movies for portable digital devices), the studios have turned to DRM (and the law) to create the scarcity (illegality of ripping DVDs) needed to both create the need for it and sustain it. Rather than admit that this is what they're doing, they trot out bogus studies claiming that this is all caused by piracy. It's the classic nannying scheme: "Because some of you can't be trusted, everyone has to be treated this way." But everybody knows that this nanny is in it for her own interests.

Privately, Hollywood admits DRM isn't about piracy.

Countering the Negative with Positive(s)

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Maybe fretting over the problems to be with my ADSL connection is pointless when one realizes that some people still don't get it : Bush Administration Plans to Bring Back Nuclear Testing.

Which reminds me that I still have to finish reading "The Bomb : A Life" by Gerard DeGroot that focuses on the race towards nuclear arms and their development, and the scientific as well as political evolution that lead to these weapons or were caused by them.

Then again, maybe not all is lost : Sunswift III: Fuelless Transport - Exhibit A. If that was too extreme or "not practical in everyday use" (to which I agree, but the development will trigger new applications), maybe Venturi Eclectic: Fuelless Transport - Exhibit B is more acceptable?

But, is everybody with it yet? Apple has toxic core: Greenpeace. Steve Jobbs reposted during the slideshow presentation of the new Apple iPhone : (the lobby group should) "get out of the computer business [and] go save some whales". I believe the ongoing GP campaigns towards Apple must be hurting, otherwise I can't think of any "good" reason to come up with a tasteless comment as the one Jobbs made above.

Skynet sucks (sequel 4567913347)

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I'll have to look up my contract, but this I find this "press release" quite disturbing :

15/01/07 09:12

Dear News reader,

Given the amount of illegal content circulating in binary newsgroups, we have decided to stop hosting articles containing binary files (binaries) on our news servers (news.skynet.be) as of 1 February, 2007. To enable you to keep following your favorite discussion topics, newsgroups publishing articles in plain text will still be available. The posting period of these articles will be extended to three months.

The NNTP service (protocol used to transmit news on the Internet), which
allows access to newsgroups hosted by third parties, will remain available. You will therefore be able to continue using the news servers (both public and private, paying and free of charge). You can easily find a list of these servers by conducting a search with your favorite search engine.


Thank you for your understanding.

If I recall correctly, I pay €57,05 a month for my internet which up to now included access to the skynet news server. Last year, they cut off access to hundreds of binary groups offering MP3's (of which some carried illegal material, but lots were perfectly legit as well) and from February 1st 2007 all binaries will be dropped. I think I'll have to ask them to lower my bill as well, as they'll be providing less service. Time to get in touch with them... or even drop them altogether!

Update : Scarlet has been considered and dropped - even their online support desk is unreachable. EVOnet seems interesting but is a little light on total traffic offered per month (15GB). So far EDPNet seems the best candidate to get my money as their ADSLMax 6 Dyn packet offers higher speeds (download and upload wise) and is cheaper when compared to my current Belgacom Skynet ADSL Plus plan. I've contacted them to check for availability of usenet and binaries.

Lazy Weekend

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I've not accomplished much this weekend, really took a lazy approach to things. I just got back from R. who was having a bit of trouble with the computer again - really small problems - but he likes it when I come over every now and then and update and check the machine while we chat about the stock market, telecoms and other things I really don't know anything about.

I fixed his word and excel probs - a toolbar went missing - and installed the Java RE 6 edition (uninstalled the previous versions), updated AdAware and Spybot SD, removed old and vulnerable Flash installs and put the newest version on, and I did the same for Acrobat Reader. He should be good for quite a while now.

Off to see if my Red Hot Beavers can win another game of soccer on the field of honor, have something to eat and clean out Tai's litter box.

Oh, yesterday I went for my first wardrive of 2007 and it was pretty successful : 563 new AP's found in under 1 hour time, and another 510 AP's have been updated (those were spotted before). Bringing my total to 3164 AP's discovered, not including the ones I scanned on the way to and from R. today.

Why everyone wants a Wii

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Yummy

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I switched from 10 Things I Hate About You featuring Julia Stiles as the bitchy but utterly sexy "Kat" to the sci-fi thriller Cypher. Before that I watched Ashley Judd in Twisted. So far it's been a very good evening for watching sexy women on TV.

GiGi

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I've been working on the laptop of a colleague from work, as he complained that it was almost impossible to use anymore. He described it pretty much like this : "There are tons of windows that open, it's very slow and generally a pain in the ass to work with". It's not the first time I hear descriptions such as that one, and I'm usually not really impressed by the amount of spyware, adware and viruses installed on the machine. Seeing that this was a 4 month old laptop, with all but the most recent windows patches installed, I was impressed.

A first scan with SpyBot returned 286 malware related entries. After uninstalling an expired copy of Norton Antivirus and installing AVG Free, 195 virus related files were discovered. I also uninstalled WinSoftware AntiVirusPro 2006 (adware!) and made sure the OS was patched to the latest level.

A couple of hours and several scans later - I went to bed in the mean time - the laptop is almost performing up to it's specs and only a couple of stubborn malware entries remain. One of them being CmdServices, and Ad-Aware as well as SpyBot SD have trouble completely getting rid of it. I think it may be time to do some manual registry surgery!

The White Towel

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It's quite regrettable, but after analyzing the situation with Hilda - Chief of Strategy - this morning a couple of minutes after 08h00, we decided to throw the towel in the ring and withdraw from the smart-and-the-city driver competition.

A final effort during the early hours of the day worth about 75 more votes resulted in a net gain of 0,0075%. Taking into account that the gap towards the top three positions is over 3% (and closer to 4%) it would take us 30.000 more votes to get to the top position. Even when working in teams and averaging 150 votes an hour per team, it would take over 200 hours to reach that goal.

I can honestly say that we fought with all our might, technologies and logistics available, but we can't beat the odds. We are quite convinced that the Germans are teaming up - and I'm certain I'd do the same thing if the opportunity arose - and a cute face and a nice rack will win from a Geek anytime. I'm not very disappointed - well to be honest, I am a little - but feel like I had a run in with reality. Even if you work hard and give it all you got, there are some things you may not pull off. There is no reason to be sad though, as I think we all learned from it. A lesson learned and an experience richer, we arise proudly.

It certainly would have been awesome to drive around Europe for 3 months in a brand new smart fortwo, meet new people, see new places and leave everything in and around my current life behind for a while. Maybe I could have scored easier or better if I were a woman? Who knows, and it doesn't really matter anymore now, does it? The bell has sounded and ServMe is out of the game.

May the best one win and have a great time. Only thing left for me to do right now is head off to bed and get some sleep after working a graveyard shift. But before I do so, I must thank the following people for all their efforts :

Hilda aka Chief of Strategy - for her enthusiasm and networking skills
Raymond - for setting up technological and support services
Jess, Joco, Hans, Nadia, Marianne, the colleagues and everyone else - for their votes and time invested in this "project"

I'm sure there are tons of people that I'm forgetting here, but please forgive me, I have hardly any idea what strings Hilda has been pulling and who she had enlisted to join the group. Without all of you this wouldn't even had gotten so far. We came from nothing, went all the way to the top, but too early, too soon. It was great being at the top though :)

THANKS EVERYONE!

Yikes and yes!

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More updates on the smart-and-the-city contest : I've currently built up a nice lead and most of that is thanks to my Chief of Strategy, Hilda and her cohorts. They've been keeping busy and contacted people all over the globe and set their circles of influence to work.

The contest is about to end on January 11th, the tour to start on January 22nd, which is very soon. Both deadlines are important : the 11th means that if you've waited to cast your vote for me, now is the time to do so. The 22nd means I have to talk to some people today or tomorrow at the latest in order to see what is possible and what is not.

However, now I'm heading off to bed to catch up on some sleep - yesterday was quite a busy day with little sleep and as I'm working graveyard shifts, I need my sleep. It's not a beauty sleep, otherwise I wouldn't wake up till 2015 I suppose!

Thanks!

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I owe a huge thanks to everyone who has voted for me so far in the smart and the city contest - thanks to your hard work I've been catapulted right to the number 1 position as I write this.

Jerry in Smart and The City! This is way beyond my expectations and better than I ever could imagine. However... the contest ain't over yet and only closes on January 22nd. I'll be keeping an eye open on developments as they happen and please - ask your friends to vote for me - let's make this a gigantic avalanche of votes and the biggest adventure for me yet.

As a reminder, here is my profile : Driver Profile : Jerry

Rawr!

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Absolut Vodka Vanilla + Cointreau + Limoncello + ice cubes in a large Hoegaarden glass makes you lightheaded. And I'm not even halfway through it. Rawr!

Let's go for a drive!

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You should know by now that I drive a smart fortwo. The new smart fortwo has just been released and there's a trip through Europe to be made with it. I'm one of the drivers, or more correctly : would like to be one of the drivers. For this... I need your vote!

Jerry  in Smart and The City! Head over to www.smart-and-the-city.com and register (quick and easy). Then vote for the driver of your choice - which should be me of course ;) - and you'll find me easily by browsing to "Vote for Drivers" then selecting Belgium/Flanders.

Here's a direct link to my profile : Driver Profile : Jerry

Personal rights

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A recent conversation with an online "friend" - I don't know if that's the correct word to describe the relationship between the two of us, but I think it kind of fits the bill - about her recent breast enlargement brought up some interesting topics. Breasts are always an interesting topic, that I admit, but I think there was no focusing on the actual boobs, but rather the question "why", "why not", the procedure, adapting to them and how other people reacted to her announcing her intentions.

I'm not a fan of breast enlargements - I like them small(ish) - but the liberal in me cannot but accept and agree with whatever decision the owner takes. What also kind of surprised me is that a breast enlargement is by a majority of the people not seen as body modification, yet tattoos or piercings are. I suppose it all comes down to perception and acceptance and some things being more mainstream as others.

Feel free to leave feeback...

Life ain't cheap, that's for sure. I usually don't mind paying the bills, but this months they're quite exceptionally high, and totalling over 1200 euro. 1 insurance bill for the car (yearly), 1 phone/ADSL bill (bimonthly), 1 Visa statement (monthly), 1 energy/electricity bill (3 months), and some small bits and pieces that add up to a fair amount.

It's a good thing I work full time and make relatively good cash each month, but it still kind of hurts. Ah well... what's paid for today, doesn't need to be paid tomorrow. It just kind of all piled up into January I suppose.

I'm home for the weekend and start graveyard shift on Monday. I'll be sleeping most of the time - during the weekend, not at work! - because I slept for less than 4 hours last night. I ain't 20 no more!

Quite early

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It was still quite calm at work yesterday, but I managed to climb up and down a set of stairs 12 times. 4 of these climbs turned out to be unneeded.

Yesterday I learned that after I did some updating and patching of E.'s computer on Monday, her MS Word program disappeared, as well as her documents. Troubleshooting a machine you don't really know so well over a Skype hat was challenging but I quickly pinpointed the root of the problem : a fubar'ed path setting. I had her changed the path and after a reboot things appeared to run better, though the documents are still missing. It's quite possible they were never on the machine in the first place. M. will take a closer look at it when he's over.

I really got to leave for work now, early shift and I still have to shave and get dressed. More updates possibly later today...

Getting it all out of the way

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Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, Have a hopping Easter, Drunk St-Patricks Day, ... No matter what special day(s) you happen to celebrate this year, consider this entry to be my appropriate best wishes for it.

Got home around one this afternoon, entertained Tai, watched some TV and will be heading off to bed soon. Early shi(f)t calls tomorrow and I'll be updating my schedule along the way - didn't make the time to get it online completely yet.

I've not made any real resolutions for the new year as I failed to accomplish every single one I didn't set for myself in 2006. This may change during the year, as we move along. I saw one dude give out some great advice though : make your resolutions for 2007 on December 31st, 2007. Then select things you did accomplish and feel damn good about yourself.

If you really insist on getting a resolution from me, here's one : "stay alive". In case I fail that, I probably can't be bothered by it anymore. Yeah, sounds like the perfect resolution for 2007!

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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